Biographies & Memoirs


Amalie Rothschild, the twenty-three-year-old staff photographer at the Fillmore East, was in the theater’s second-floor office when she heard the noisy rumble outside. “Have you seen the crowd?” one of her coworkers said, beckoning her over to the window.

Looking down upon New York’s Second Avenue, Rothschild saw nothing but bodies swarming over the sidewalk, spilling onto the street, and extending around the corner onto East Sixth Street. Rothschild knew Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were having a moment in the culture; everyone seemed to own a copy of Déjà vu. The critics could debate its worth relative to the work they’d done with their other bands. But something about Déjà vu—the sense of frailty in “4 + 20” and “Helpless,” the addled paranoia of “Almost Cut My Hair,” the urge to escape it all in “Our House”—summed up post-Kent State America. The dark clouds that hovered over the album, the results of the band’s own personal relationships and emotional tumult, also tapped into something larger and beyond their control.

Still, no one expected quite so many people to show up to buy tickets for CSNY’s six consecutive nights at the Fillmore set to begin June 2. The line grew so long, the late spring heat so stifling, that Fillmore owner Bill Graham dispatched employees with water buckets and plastic cups to cool down the masses. Grabbing her camera, Rothschild talked her way onto the roof of a building across the street to commemorate the impromptu rock-fan street carnival in front of the Fillmore.

Decades before, the Fillmore East had been a vaudeville house, then a Loew’s movie theater. In March 1968, after an earlier promoter had renamed it the Village Theater, Graham took over, transforming the building into the Fillmore East, the New York sibling of his Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. The Fillmore’s plush red seats and glass chandelier were reminders of its previous lives. But in a sign of how the culture had changed, its 2,632 seats were now given over to rock and roll: two sets a night with all the accouterments of the time, including a goopyswirly light show and the pungent, lingering scent of dope in the air. After its opening night, which featured Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin) and Tim Buckley, the Fillmore East would play host to nearly every major rock act of its time. In the early months of 1970 alone, the names Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, the Kinks, and Ten Years After were all displayed on the Fillmore’s marquee.

Now it would be Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s turn. At the Warner Brothers soundstage, they’d rehearsed and nailed down a set that accommodated everyone. During the electric set, Stills would have three songs, Young two, and Crosby and Nash one apiece. The rhythm section was itself a compromise, since Barbata was Young’s drummer of choice and Fuzzy Samuels was Stills’ preferred bass player. On May 29, the tour finally resumed, at the Boston Garden. The following night, at the Baltimore Civic Center, a reviewer for the Washington Post wrote that the foursome ”generally sounded mellow.” For the moment, everything was working.

By the time they rolled into the Fillmore East on the afternoon of June 2 for their first soundcheck, Bill Graham had made the band’s status clear to his staff. Gathering them outside his office, Graham explained that CSNY was a major act who expected to be treated a certain way. “He talked about how everything had to be special and that they certainly thought they were special,” recalled Allan Arkush, a New York University film student who worked part time at the theater. Graham referred to the foursome as “the American Beatles” and told the staff to give CSNY anything they wanted.

Graham’s point was rammed home as soon as load-in began. As they had in Europe, CSNY were still carting around their own sound system and lighting rig. Even though the Fillmore’s P.A. was considered one of the sharpest in the business, the band demanded consistency from show to show. After the CSNY trucks arrived, the Fillmore staff, working with the band’s road crew, went begrudgingly to work. To accommodate CSNY’s mighty spotlights, holes had to be punched into the theater’s light booth. To focus as much of the audience’s attention on them as possible, the band passed on the Joshua Light Show—the multi-hued liquidlight backdrop for nearly every performance at the venue—and opted for a dark black curtain. Although CSNY had headlined the Fillmore immediately after Woodstock, the theater’s staff sensed how much had changed in the year since. “They had one attitude before,” said Arkush, “and then they came back with a hit album and had this whole other attitude. They saw themselves as stars.”

At the last minute, the band requested a Persian rug for the stage, which had to be both obtained and hastily scrubbed down. Yet even that requirement wasn’t easily satisfied. “We unrolled the carpet and put equipment on it, and it wasn’t clean enough,” Arkush recalled. In what would become a piece of Fillmore folklore, stage hand John Ford Noonan, who detested the band and everything it stood for musically and economically, ran to a closet in the back of the theater, pulled out an industrial vacuum, rushed back to the stage, and began vacuuming ferociously, all while making sarcastically reverential comments to the band and road manager Leo Makota. Mortified, Bill Graham pretended he had a phone call and darted back to his office. Even Graham, whose hardened, street-wise demeanor reflected a childhood growing up in the Bronx, didn’t want to incur the wrath of CSNY.


As Nash had grown to learn, incurring each other’s ire was equally possible. “Nine o’clock and all’s well, so far,” he told the Fillmore audience near the beginning of one night’s set. Another evening, he remarked, “Hasn’t it been relaxed so far?” Following an electric version of “Helplessly Hoping” onto which Young was now adding a tingling lead guitar, Nash looked out at the audience and said, “We like that one. Didn’t you like that one? We’re really enjoying this. This is fun.”

After the debacle in Denver and the firings of Greg Reeves and Dallas Taylor, Nash sounded as if he were trying to convince both fans and himself that his band wasn’t disintegrating. Structurally, at least, the shows were stable. As ever, they opened with CSN and then Young playing an unplugged set, followed by an electric second half with Samuels and Barbata. The acoustic performances were, as always, a blend of harmony, solipsism, and clowning around—an hour of songs, dope jokes, wisecracks about their previous bands, and references to each other. On June 4, Crosby and Nash broke into “Swanee River,” and Stills cracked, “You guys are crazy,” to which Nash retorted “Why do you think we play with you two guys?” It was the type of cutesy, self-satisfied banter that had caused one earlier critic, Tony Palmer in the London Observer, to grouse, “It was like being at a party where everybody knew everybody except you.”

Just when the shticks became almost unbearable, they’d remind the audience why everyone was there in the first place. His voice surging one minute, dropping to a hushed whisper the next, Crosby would silence the adoring audience with “Triad”—his rationale for having sex with as many partners as he wanted—and Nash would join him for “The Lee Shore,” Crosby’s ode to his boat and the sailing life. The song’s melody bobbed gently, like the Mayan on a tranquil evening, and he and Nash’s counterpoint harmonies circled around each other in ways that expressed their deepening personal bond. Young would attempt the least hip move imaginable—a medley—and pull it off; without the sonic crush of Crazy Horse behind him, “Cowgirl in the Sand,” “Down by the River,” and “Cinnamon Girl” were surprisingly wistful and forlorn. Alone at the piano, Stills performed a medley of his own: a stripped-down “49 Bye Byes”—one of his many Judy Collins laments from Crosby, Stills & Nash—and a stomping, howling update of “For What It’s Worth” with an audience-baiting section that referenced Nixon, Agnew, and “the pigs.” Working himself into a lather each night, Stills always threatened to blow out his voice, but the standing ovation that invariably greeted his segment was his overdue reward.

Although CSNY were ostensibly touring to support Déjà vu, they rarely played songs from it. Only “Teach Your Children” was a regular part of the acoustic set, and “Carry On” in the electric portion. “You gotta keep doing new things all the time,” Crosby—generally sporting the fringe jacket with tassels that was his trademark—told the Fillmore audience one evening. As if they were already moving on—or didn’t want to remind themselves of what went into the making of Déjà Vu—they instead debuted, night after night, a slew of new or as yet unrecorded songs to reflect their tremendous creative waterfall. Nash broke out “Right Between the Eyes,” about an affair he’d had on Long Island during the band’s early days. Young introduced “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” written in London during the first CSNY show and recently cut without them for the album he’d begun in Los Angeles. Stills played “Love the One You’re With” in the acoustic set and a ballad about what he saw as his new maturity, “As I Come of Age,” during the electric. Even though audiences never once heard “Wooden Ships,” “Marrakesh Express,” or “Helpless,” they nonetheless stomped and screamed themselves nuts every night.

During the first soundcheck in the empty theater, immediately after the rug incident, another new song—“Ohio”—made its New York stage premiere. When the band finished rehearsing it that afternoon, the theater’s staff gathered around Young, thanking him for writing it and extolling, “Right on!” Young accepted their praise and told them why he was moved to write the song.

Before it was performed each night, the band would introduce it as “an important song” (Nash) or “sort of a downer” (Young). On cue, the Fillmore staff would all emerge from their offices to watch CSNY blast out a song that captured the uncertainty and anger of the moment. Young would begin playing the song’s doomy opening nine notes, Stills joined in, and off they went. By the end—Stills jabbing away, Barbata keeping up the incessant drumbeat, and Crosby shouting out the “How many—how many more?”—the song served as both rage and release.

All week long in New York, emotions ran high onstage and off, like thermometer mercury unexpectedly rising and plummeting. Stills dedicated “49 Bye Byes” to “Clark and his mother”—Collins, who was in the audience—while Nash sang his newly written “Simple Man,” about his breakup with Mitchell, as Mitchell sat watching him in the theater. During the Fillmore nights and the remainder of the tour, Nash couldn’t bring himself to play “Our House,” afraid he would burst into tears while singing a song about his now-finished life with Mitchell.

On the second night, June 3, Bob Dylan—who’d moved from Woodstock to nearby MacDougal Street—decided to see what everyone was talking about. Slipping into the Fillmore, he took a seat in the sound booth to avoid recognition.2 Wanting to impress him, Stills played four songs during his segment, including “4 + 20” and a rare solo acoustic take on Buffalo Springfield’s “Bluebird.” But those were two more songs than everyone had agreed upon. In the break before the electric second half, the band trudged quietly up the Fillmore’s winding stairs to the small, funky dressing rooms on the upper floors. All four of them, along with Roberts, Barbata and Samuels, piled into one room and closed the door, and Nash began lacing into Stills: “Who do you think you are, doing another song?” Crosby and Young stood with their heads down, silently supportive of Nash’s tongue-lashing. Stills, holding a beer can, said nothing. To signify his sputtering rage, he kept squeezing the can until the foam spilled out over his right hand and onto the floor.

A terrified Barbata thought the band would dissolve then and there, before he’d played more than a handful of shows with them. After a few moments of awkward silence, the drummer finally said, “Hey, let’s go play!” Roberts quickly piped in: “Yeah!” With that, everyone filed back out for the second, especially electric set. On their way to the stage, they had to step over Bill Graham and Ron Stone, tussling on the floor over the band’s last-minute insistence on filming the shows for the documentary.

The volatility was never-ending. Exactly a week after Nash had castigated Stills, the band played the Spectrum in Philadelphia. One of the visitors to their individual Sheraton hotel rooms was Joel Bernstein, a newly graduated local high school student and nascent photographer who’d already shot Young and Joni Mitchell. Only eighteen, the effusive, affable Bernstein showed up at the Sheraton with a stack of prints he’d taken of the band at the Fillmore shows. In his room, Young selected one of Bernstein’s shots, of him walking down the street in New York, to be the cover of his next album, After the Gold Rush.

Talking to Bernstein, Stills had an urgent question: “Hey, where can you play pool around here?” Bernstein mentioned his parents’ house in nearby Elkins Park, just outside Philadelphia. To the teenager’s shock, a limo carrying Stills and Nash appeared at the Bernsteins’ three-story granite home after the show. Both hung out in Bernstein’s bedroom—one of his photos of Mitchell hanging on the wall behind Nash—before all retreated to the basement to shoot pool and smoke and snort various substances. Hearing the noise, Bernstein’s father rang down on the intercom: What was all the commotion? It’s just my friends from the concert, Bernstein replied, they came over to play pool, hope that’s okay! Still curious, Stanley Bernstein, wearing his pajamas and bathrobe, appeared, introducing himself to his son’s pool friends. Luckily for his son, he either didn’t notice or recognize all the white powder left over on the pool table.

As dawn arrived and their respective highs still lingered, Charles John Quarto—a bearded, gentle-mannered poet whom Nash had met in New York and who was invited along for several stops on the tour—joined Stills, Nash, and Bernstein (and a small film crew hired to document the tour) as they strolled through a nearby park. “Stephen and I sat on this huge tree trunk,” remembered Quarto. “He sang and I recited for forty-five minutes. I remember Nash’s face when he was looking at that. It was a beautiful thing.” After their Fillmore clash, Nash and Stills had again found common ground. That week, Billboard’s review of one of the Fillmore sets appeared. The performance, the magazine wrote, “reversed any trend of concern and disappointment as they strummed and harmonized in a new maturity.” The magazine added they had a promising future, “should CSNY stay together long enough.”


Whether it was the Fillmore or any of the arenas CSNY would be hitting that summer, Ron Stone always found himself in the same place as soon as the last notes of “Find the Cost of Freedom,” the traditional show closer, faded. To collect the nightly earnings, Stone would march into the venue’s office and begin tallying the receipts and expenditures with the promoter. Some evenings, the work was over in minutes; other times, when the promoter would present a list of his expenses and attempt to deduct them from the band’s earnings, negotiations could last until dawn. Sometimes the promoter would have a few seedy thugs standing nearby. Stone quickly caught onto the game. “Leo, did you hear this?” he’d call out, a signal for Makota to walk into the room. As Stone learned, the sight of the tall, burly Makota always made the tallying run a bit smoother on the band’s end.

When all was done, Stone would leave with as much as $25,000 in cash—“like a drug deal every night,” he recalled—and stick the envelope in the inner pocket of his jacket. If the shows piled up and he didn’t have time to deposit the bills in a local bank, he’d simply pray no one knew he was walking around with about $100,000 in cash. Backstage one night, Crosby told Stone he looked pale and nervous. Stone said nothing: He didn’t want Crosby to know he’d misplaced one of those overstuffed envelopes—which, to his relief, was soon recovered by a crew member.

That such large amounts of cash were floating around was just part of the changes in the economics of rock and roll. When Bill Graham gathered his staff around at the beginning of CSNY’s Fillmore East run, he laid that topic on the line as well. “He’d talk about how the business was changing and how much of the money you’d have to give away to bands,” recalled Arkush. Graham saw in his own Fillmore office how the business of rock was transforming, with CSNY a telling example. At Woodstock the previous August, they’d been paid $10,000, $5,000 less than Janis Joplin and the Band. But with two top 10 albums under their belts, CSNY could command more, as their managers Elliot Roberts and David Geffen well knew. Thanks to their maneuvering, CSNY would now demand over double that amount a night—and, more importantly, an unheard-of 60 percent of the gate (the money earned after expenses were recouped) compared to less than half, as other acts received. Around the country, ticket prices for the tour ran as high as $6.50. In Minneapolis, an ad-hoc group threatened a boycott when tickets were advertised at $10 each. Yet none of those protests deterred fans from flocking to see the band.

CSNY weren’t alone in demanding a larger bite of the grosses. “Artists could do the math,” recalled Kip Cohen, the Fillmore East’s managing director. “If the gross was over $45,000, the act would get an extra $1,000. They caught on very quickly. Everybody caught on very quickly, in a matter of months.” Manhattan promoter Ron Delsener complained in Billboard that he was having trouble signing bands for his Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park. Delsener was offering a flat $2,500 a show, good money a few years before but now considered petty change. In particular, he cited Simon and Garfunkel as one example of an act that “asked so much money that I cannot even approach them.”

During the first half of the year, American and world economies had bounced up and down; in the States, fears of a recession were taking hold. But the music business was generating plenty of cash, thanks to rock and roll. Firms like the William Morris Agency began hiring special booking agents to handle rock tours. In midsummer, Columbia head Clive Davis announced his label had had the best six months in its history—thanks in large part to Simon and Garfunkel—and predicted that total sales for 1970 would top those of 1969. (In the end, he was right: the figure wound up being $15 million.) A new era of consolidations was on the horizon: The year before, the Kinney Corporation, a former parking garage and cleaning-services company, had bought Warner Brothers and, in 1970, added Elektra to its stable. When those labels were merged with Atlantic, the all-powerful Warner Music Group was created.

Bill Graham sensed the financial power was shifting from promoters and their venues to the artists and their managers. To Fillmore employees, the crowds seemed increasingly too drugged up to notice anyway. Ushers would sometimes have to direct concertgoers to different seats by telling them that, no, their ticket was not blue but another color, which meant a different section.

In such an atmosphere, the Fillmore East was doomed. Acts who’d headlined there over the previous year, like the Doors and Led Zeppelin, had moved on to arenas. Graham couldn’t match the money or even the amenities. At the Fillmore, backstage catering amounted to pizzas or deli sandwiches that crew members would run out and buy; soda bottles were set up in ice-filled garbage cans.

In his office, an increasingly disillusioned Graham, with help from Cohen, began working on an open letter to his industry. In it, he would announce the two Fillmores were “fighting for their very existence.... Economics have taken the music from the clubs, ballrooms and concert halls to the larger coliseums and festivals.” (When the Fillmore opened in 1968, tickets were $3, $4, and $5; by 1970, the prices had increased by fifty cents, but only after much in-house debate.) Graham warned there were “not enough acts” to replace the ones who’d moved on to larger venues like Madison Square Garden and the Los Angeles Forum.

The finished letter ran as a full-page ad in the June 27 issue of Billboard . “It was a statement that had to be made, that the corporate mentality was coming in,” Cohen recalled. “People could smell something was happening and it was time to cash in. It was pretty clear that the culture was changing.” Graham and Cohen sat back and awaited reaction within the industry. Surely, someone other than them had to agree.


For all the disorder onstage and off, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young appeared untouchable as the tour carried on. By the weekend of July 4, two of their singles were on the radio: “Teach Your Children” and, despite periodic problems with airplay over its content, “Ohio.” After New York came shows at arenas in Philadelphia, Detroit, Portland (Oregon), Oakland, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Flying from city to city on commercial airlines, they pushed whatever envelope was available. Crosby would walk into airports smoking a joint, but the entourage of handlers, bandmates, road crew, and women around him made it hard for officials to determine the source of the odor. Crosby would eventually ditch the stash, but only when he arrived at the gate.

Yet just as the country seemed to be blowing a fuse as the summer dragged on, so did its leading rock and roll band. Between the ongoing flow of coke and pot, Crosby and Stills frequently butted heads on everything from repertoire to preferred substances. Backstage, Stone asked Samuels if the bass player, still adjusting to rock and roll lunacy, was okay; after all, he was so subdued. “I didn’t worry if rock and roll guys were squabbling,” Samuels recalled. “It didn’t bother me because I was so accustomed to being without.” Still, he told Stone he’d been taking acid every night to calm his nerves.

Even Crosby wasn’t always immune. “People do the damnedest tricks on my head, man,” Crosby told Rolling Stone’s Ben Fong-Torres after a Hollywood waitress with false teeth offered him a blowjob if he gave her tickets to one of CSNY’s shows. “Things happen to me every day and I can’t handle it.”

The shows became symbolic of the band’s internal schism. During the acoustic sets, Crosby, Nash, and Young would often huddle together in one combination or another to play one of their songs, while Stills’ solo spot was always companionless. (The exception was “Love the One You’re With,” making its debut before Stills’ recording of it had been completed; the audiences always chuckled along appreciatively when Nash introduced the title.) “There was David, Graham, and Neil, and then me—it was Sybil on wheels,” Stills said, referencing the movie starring Sally Field as a woman who suffers from extreme multiple-personality disorder. At the rescheduled Chicago show, the critic from the Chicago Tribune noted Stills appeared to be “brooding” by the side of the stage.

As Nash feared, the group-therapy session in Los Angeles in May had only been a temporary fix. “We thought Stephen might use the opportunity to pull himself together a little more,” Nash recalled. “And it appeared at first that he did. So we were willing to give it another shot. But it was obvious he hadn’t changed at all.” Stills saw it differently. As with Déjà vu sessions, he felt the problem lay in the music. He found the band sloppy, the shows drifting toward what he called “Grateful Dead bedlam.” Stills had no interest in the type of free-form, jazz-influenced improvisational music Crosby loved. “It never had that craftsmanship quality,” Stills recalled of the stage shows that summer. “It was like the Beatles’ Let It Be: ‘Let’s stop doing that creative stuff in the studio and just play as a band.’ But everybody was so mad at each other that they couldn’t. You could feel this angst. Dealing with David and Graham became like dealing with the Irish; they didn’t remember anything but the grudges.” Onstage, Stills seemed to connect most with Samuels. “Me and Stephen had a different kind of bond,” Samuels recalled. “We knew about playing with each other. A lot of those [Crosby, Nash and Young] songs, they’re so sleepy. They weren’t good performing songs.”

The shows retained their share of raggedness. Nash’s “Pre-Road Downs,” the opener of the electric set, chugged along harder than the studio version, but could also be woozy, and the harmonies on other songs could be spotty. Hired to fly to New York and Chicago and tape the sets for a live album, engineer Bill Halverson understood part of the reason why: They’d often look at each other while singing, their mouths wandering away from the microphones in the process. Stills himself sang “Carry On” off-mic one night. From behind his drums, Barbata would sometimes hear front-row audience members complaining the band didn’t sound like their records.

The contretemps between Stills and Young spilled out during jams on “Carry On” and “Southern Man” that each stretched out to close to fifteen minutes a night. (“Another song that’s bound to get us in trouble,” Crosby announced one night before “Southern Man,” which again caught a moment: That summer, Southern senators strongly resisted an extension of the Voting Rights Act that made it easier for blacks and those eighteen and over to vote.) Rarely seeing each other when not in the arenas, Stills and Young would finally engage in conversation onstage, staring each other down with their instruments, slinging notes back and forth like tennis players.

Both men knew the spectacle benefit of these moments. “It was entertaining,” Stills said. “Were John Coltrane and Miles Davis dueling? No. We’d go off and come back to the original theme. We’d try to imitate what the other guy was playing. It worked out pretty well.” (“It’s what the fans dug,” recalled Rolling Stone writer Ben Fong-Forres, who saw a number of CSNY shows that period. “They knew the entertainment value of that.”) When the two men were getting along, their toand-fros had a playful, fluid quality. When they weren’t, the mood was different: Young would come out of nowhere with a bee-sting solo and Stills would respond with a rushed barrage of notes, as if they were having a contentious argument with their instruments. Stills felt they were goaded into the exchanges by their business associates: “‘He’s a better guitar player!’ It was destructive. I’d say, ‘Neil, are we doing that or not?’ And he’d say, ‘No, we’re just trading off.’”

Whether the exchanges were intentionally theatrical or not, CSNY had no choice but to hold it together and knew it. At the Fillmore, one particularly fervent audience during their weeklong run wouldn’t let them leave without playing an additional encore. Backstage, they decided to resurrect “Woodstock.” The song was never easy to pull off live; recreating the dense, multitracked harmonies of the studio version required a pinpoint accuracy they rarely managed over the din of electric guitars and drums (and inefficient stage monitors). Preparing to play the number again, Nash introduced it as “a song we haven’t done for a long, long time.” By then, the relatively joyous months of 1969—when a press release trumpeted them as the group “that brought happiness and laughter back to rock & roll”—seemed to reflect another lifetime.


“Hey, Crosby, someone made this for you,” Nash said, sticking his head into his bandmate’s Minneapolis hotel room on the afternoon of July 9. A bare-chested Crosby was lying in bed, puffing on a joint while chatting on the phone with Dylan. Several girls swirled around. Like Stills, Crosby was reveling in the applause and stature he’d felt were too long in coming. For Stills, success compensated for barely knowing his mother while growing up; for Crosby, fame and its rewards made up for the devastation of Hinton’s loss. As Stone recalled, “David drowned his sorrows in some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.”

Nash tossed Crosby his gift: a pillow in the shape of a pistol, made from an American flag. Crosby chuckled and stuck it behind his back while he continued talking on the phone. Henry Diltz, who’d arrived in Minneapolis the day before, pulled out his ever-present camera and Crosby, in a playful mood, inhaled a joint and put the pillow gun against his right temple.

Crosby was merely being playful, but the gesture also bespoke a prevalent feeling about the tour by the time the band flew into Minneapolis for its final show. Diltz himself had been waiting over a month to fly out from Los Angeles to shoot the band. When the tour had resumed in Boston, he was poised to leave with them to snap on-the-road shots for a collection of sheet music. But the constant unrest kept delaying his departure. “I am once again in limbo over this tour,” he wrote in his journal on May 26.

Diltz finally received word to fly out to Minneapolis and, upon his arrival, sensed a mixture of weariness and unease. “They had things between them, feelings good and bad,” he recalled. “There was a little apprehension, a little unfriendliness. There were various energies between people.” Before the show at the fourteen-thousand-seat Met Arena that had originally been set for May 2, everyone congregated in Roberts’ room for an end-of-tour banquet with special guests like Young’s irascible mother, Rassy, and Charles John Quarto. Before the show at the arena, CSNY gathered in a backstage bathroom and shared a joint. Starting with “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” they played their standard set with few hitches. By then, there was no point in scratching any open wounds onstage; they were almost done.

When the show finished, all of them, along with crew and management, took over a room at the Radisson Hotel for a late-night poker game. They were newly wealthy men and unafraid to show it; over the course of the night, hundreds of dollars were tossed onto the table. Everybody was having a relaxed time until someone began banging on the door. Stone went over, pulled it open, and was face-to-face with a persistent fan. Stone told him to go away; the band needed privacy. He closed the door and returned to the table.

Another knock. Again, the same fan; again, the same do-not-disturb request. Stone slammed the door and returned to the game. Finally, a third knock. This time, Stone didn’t want a conversation. Unlatching the door, he threw a punch and slammed it shut. He didn’t even look to see how much damage he may have caused.

Everyone should have been aghast. Instead, they all laughed, a collective release after a particularly bumpy year. “Tremendous relief, relief beyond nothing you could imagine,” recalled Stone. They’d finished the tour and wrapped up their obligations to management, promoters, and themselves. “We’d completed something without it going off the rails,” recalled Nash. Yet even Nash knew how perilously close they’d come to doing just that.

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